NASA is sending superbug bacteria into space to study why it proliferates in microgravity. Longer term, the space agency wants to keep astronauts healthy during long voyages to asteroids or Mars.

The superbug, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or staph, was included in a cargo of nearly over 5,000 pounds of equipment, supplies and research material launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday from Florida.

Delivery of the microorganism was carried out on the Dragon spacecraft. Superbugs belongs to the genus staphylococci and resistant to antibiotics. It can provoke quite a large range of illnesses, from mild infection to pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis.

NASA plans to conduct many experiments with bacteria, to study the effect gravity on the growth and signs of its mutations. “My hypothesis is that microgravity accelerates the process of mutation. If we can use the microgravity as an accelerator, it will make a leap forward and be able to understand how it will look this bacterium in the future. And then it will help us in the world to develop better drugs, “- he said to CNN Nanobiosym CEO Dr. Anita Goel, who brought the bacteria.

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